Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tragic Week for our Nation

We were thinking about going to the Boston Marathon last weekend.  Actually we had thought to go to many events like it after we retired, but so far retirement has been more about health care than fun.  That marathon is fun in that Boston, one of my favorite cities, is at its best that day.  It's a holiday, Patriot's Day, and normally the weather is good so everyone gets out.  The sports teams play home games, and thousands of amateur athletes take part in the run.  Their families and friends flood the sidewalks along the route, taking photos and cheering everyone on.  It's a very special day.

Of course this year's race turned into a tragedy which a few days later turned Boston and some of its suburbs into ghost towns as law enforcement agencies (working together seamlessly) hunted for the remaining suspect.  We were so relieved when they took him into custody alive, and now we hope he will talk.  All of us need to know why they set off bombs.  What did they hope to accomplish?  What in their lives turned them into terrorists?  They had so much, mainly education and opportunity.  I cannot understand.

One part of the search practically made my heart stop.  The owner of the boat the fugitive was hiding in saw blood on the cover which had been loosened.  Rather than go inside and call 911 like any sane person would do, he got a ladder, pulled the cover back, and looked into the boat.  Only when he saw a lot of blood and a person curled up inside did he call the police.  Thank heaven the suspect didn't shoot him, so it ended without further loss of life.

On top of the Boston story we had flooding in the Midwest and the fertilizer plan explosion in West, Texas.  I was expecting locusts next.  Hadn't we had enough for one week?  So much disaster was too much to take in, and it isn't over.  They're still searching for bodies in Texas and flooding is still devastating areas of the Midwest where I grew up.  Today I feel exhausted by the emotion of the week.

However, I'm a realistic, stubborn American.  I don't allow myself to live in fear.  I try to mourn for the people lost in tragedies but then accept what I can't change and go on living.  It's really the only thing we can do.  Otherwise we'll cower in fear, and what kind of life would that be?  Reality demands that we enjoy every day of our lives because we don't have an expiration date marked on our bodies.  That is a lesson I was reminded of last year when I had cancer.  I had always been healthy, never thought that I stood a chance of dying until I was quite old, and then suddenly I was faced with a diagnosis that used to be a death sentence.  Wake-up call indeed.

The moral of this week?  Attend events you're interested in, don't take dumb chances but go where you want and do what you want to do, take advantage of local fun times and opportunities to travel, hug your loved ones and friends, smile, laugh every day, and for Pete's sake get cancer screening tests.  You only have one life, my friend.  Live it every day.


  1. I refuse to live in fear too. It was a rough week for me personally and the events in Boston didn't help at all. I'm so glad they got the second guy and I hope he gives them some answers.

  2. Yes, I didn't even mention the anniversaries of the Virginia Tech shootings and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. I know remembering the VA Tech tragedy was hard for you and your family, Kathy.

  3. I was thinking also about the sadness of the week. One other event made it sad for me: I was hoping the senate would pass the background-check portion of the gun control bill.

    So many lives have been shattered by violence. It is so sad. I thought a sensible first step was strong legislation. But we couldn't even get 60 senators to vote for a watered-down bill. Yes, violence and inertia have made this a sad weak.

    I agree with your statement about mourning and moving on when there isn't anything that can be done to cause change. I'm not done with my senator, however. He's going to keep hearing from me until his actions show me he's listening to his constituents.

  4. Margot, I too was hoping that the senators would develop some backbone, enough to pass the background check bill. I know it wouldn't have saved the Newtown victims but it would certainly be a step forward. I live in a county where nearly everyone hunts and many are NRA members. They are, almost to a man, Republican and Obama-haters. I long ago learned to keep my mouth shut. They'll never convince me and I'll never convince them so what's the use? As you can imagine, though, steam frequently escapes from my ears as I'm forced to listen to them. Last week the NRA announced that it is taking over an annual gun show that was cancelled last winter due to a ban on sales of automatic weapons. And so the tally of guns in PA grows.